June 22, 2015

“What is minimally invasive spine surgery?” and other important questions

Neck, Back and Spine

If you’re considering back surgery, you may be wondering about the differences between traditional and minimally invasive spine surgery. What is minimally invasive spine surgery, and which type of procedure is right for you?

Read on for answers to some frequently asked questions regarding back surgery, straight from OrthoIndy spine surgeons.

What is minimally invasive spine surgery?

Minimally invasive spine surgery does not correspond to any particular surgery but refers to a surgical philosophy and the techniques developed with this philosophy in mind.

When you think about what is minimally invasive spine surgery, it includes any surgery with the least amount of disruption to surrounding tissues as possible. Minimally invasive procedures are just as safe and effective as back surgeries performed with a traditional approach.

Why make an incision any larger than what is needed to perform a procedure safely and effectively?

Minimally invasive spine surgery was made possible by the advent of technologies that allow us to access the spine and hold tissues out of the way without damaging them.

As these technologies have been refined over the years, minimally invasive spine surgery has become more common.

What types of spine surgery can be performed with a minimally invasive technique?

Minimally invasive techniques and technologies have been developed to replace most of the traditional spine surgeries. Microdiscectomies, laminectomies, and spinal fusion surgery are commonly performed as minimally invasive surgeries.

There are advanced techniques for scoliosis and fracture surgery as well. This is not a complete list, though, of what is minimally invasive spine surgery.

In general, spine surgery has significantly advanced in the last ten years. Much of the improvement has come from minimizing the disruption of surgery.

Can all spine operations be performed as minimally invasive spine surgery?

The priority should be that a patient has a safe and effective procedure. Every consideration should be made to minimize the impact of surgery and reduce complications. Often this includes the use of a newer minimally invasive technique.

While most common conditions can be effectively cared for with minimally invasive spine surgery, there are times when the nature of the problem warrants a more traditional, larger incision.

Do all spine specialists perform minimally invasive spine surgery?

Minimally invasive techniques and robotic spine surgery like those that use Mazor X are new to spine surgery. Many surgeons completed their training before the advent of these procedures.

As a result, spine surgery is in transition, with some surgeons being very comfortable offering minimally invasive spine surgery while others have yet to include it in their practice.

OrthoIndy was the first hospital in Indiana to use the Mazor X guidance system for spine surgery.

Is minimally invasive spine surgery better than traditional surgery?

As mentioned before, minimally invasive spine surgery is not one technique but a variety of methods. However, in general, it has been demonstrated that minimally invasive procedures reduce post-operative pain and time for recovery.

What about spinal fusions?

For spinal fusions, minimally invasive surgery has decreased the risk of infection and other complications while providing the same or better success rate for the fusion. For these reasons, minimally invasive techniques are considered an advancement in spine surgery.

How do I know if a surgeon is trained in minimally invasive surgery?

This is difficult. What is minimally invasive spine surgery includes many different techniques and technologies.

At this time, there is no specific training or certification in minimally invasive spine surgery. You can research surgeons in your area that offer these techniques. If you visit with one, ask them what minimally invasive spine surgery techniques they offer and get to know their comfort level performing them.

Learn why you should consider back surgery with a spine robotics system

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Call us at 317.802.2883 to schedule an appointment or make an appointment request online.

If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

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